Our history and our character have blessed us with this wonderful heritage – the town-states, and the local pride that marked our history for centuries resulted in highly distinctive territorial identities, and as a consequence they helped preserve and select many typical native vines.
These heroic vines survived Phylloxera, fights for supremacy, extreme weather events and the pursuit of easy and plentiful harvests, and finally risked extinction because of passing trends and of our incorrigible xenophilia.
Let us think for instance of some native vines such as Prié Blanc de Morgex, which miraculously survives in some of Europe's highest vineyards, or Sicily's Albanello which has virtually disappeared, or Tazzelenghe from Friuli Venezia Giulia that is dangered due to its extreme characteristics, or Tuscany's Pugnitello which risked extinction because of its low yields, and so forth…
Italians should be proud of such peculiarities and oppose a thousand different wines to the standardization of taste; we should refuse to produce plain wines that smooth out any differences to a few standard varieties with the complicity of selected yeasts.
Of course, these native grapes must be turned into natural wines to enhance their peculiarities and allow us to taste something really unique.
Another important reason to protect native vines is to safeguard germplasm that would otherwise be lost or solely survive in the experimental fields of an Italian university, forgotten among the rest.
In a global world, we desperately need biodiversity! Let us not forget what happened with Phylloxera, and might happen all over again with Flavescence Dorée.
Needless to say, one last – but not least – reason for saving the native vines is to preserve the historical roots which link us to our land.